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Javelin Coaching Information - Synopsis by Karen Costello

The first javelin throwers were hunters out looking for their dinners.

Javelin was part of the Pentathlon event at the Ancient Greek Olympics, and has remained the best athletics event at the Modern Olympics.

Famous javelin throwers include Steve Backley, Jan Zelezny, Andreas Thorkildsen, Petra Felke, Fatima Whitbread and Tessa Sanderson.

Javelin is a running / throwing event involving technique, strength and speed.

Here’s what you need to do:-

grip firmly behind the cord with your thumb and forefinger, palm flat to the sky

run for 6-8 strides with the javelin high over your right shoulder and aimed at the sector, right elbow forwards

relax, and run tall i.e. with high hips

add 2 withdrawal strides to go smoothly from front-facing to side-on: on the first stride, the right hand lifts up

on the second withdrawal stride, the javelin goes back until your elbow is extended, C of G over right leg

the next 5-7 strides are cross-overs; you keep your momentum going by using your legs to begin the attack

the javelin is held well back: keep your left side working hard towards the target, seen over your left shoulder

stay tall, keep the javelin and your hips high, and don’t chop the cross-overs

on your second last stride, with the target at 12 o’clock, place your right foot at 2-3 o’clock.

as soon as your right foot is down, placed lightly but firmly, your hips need to turn strongly and drive forwards.

on your final stride, work the sequence of hip-chest-shoulder-high elbow up and forwards.

Common errors include:-

running sideways only, without using a front-running position first

chopping the cross-over strides, so that your right foot doesn’t extend enough past your left

not using the left side of the body in the run-up and release

not lifting your feet high enough in the cross-overs

using your elbow before your shoulder in the ankle-knee-hip-chest-shoulder-elbow-wrist-fingers sequence.

Common practices include:-

Carry: running 6 strides facing forwards, with a high carry of the javelin over your right shoulder

Withdrawal: adding the next two strides, one to get the javelin high and the second to draw it backwards

Cross-overs: using the abductors and adductors of hip and thigh to drive the attack without chopping strides

Two strides to release: practise placing your right foot at 2-3 o’clock before driving your hip forwards

Release stride: work an accelerated sequence from ground to fingers in the right order, shoulder before elbow.

Javelin feet drills [ 2 sets over 30m].

High knees at walking pace

High flicks

High knees with extended kick out

Repeat these three at increased pace.

Side cross steps either side of a line

Half circles each side of a line

Backwards straight legs

Backwards heel flicks with extension

Backwards running

Forward striding with high knees

Cross-overs, arm in javelin position

Step circle

NB all drills are carried out with the feet and arms in the neutral position.

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